Gingerbread Muffins

Need a little holiday inspiration? How about serving these delicious and festive looking Gingerbread Muffins for breakfast during the holidays? They are quick AND easy to make!Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I found the recipe in a cookbook that my friend Debbie gave me several years ago. I was browsing through the cookbook getting recipe ideas, but when I saw how easy these muffins were to make, I ran downstairs and whipped some up for our breakfast!  They tasted fantastic (I think my hubby ate THREE of them- they were that good!

The recipe is absolutely simple to make. If you can stir and pour batter into muffin tins, YOU can make these!!! The muffins have a wonderful gingerbread flavor and have a nice “rise” to them. Here’s how you make them:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and prepare 12 cup standard sized muffin tin by spraying the bottom only, OR by placing paper baking cups into each muffin cup.  Beat together brown sugar, molasses, milk, oil and one egg in a large bowl. You can easily use a spoon for this.

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add remaining ingredients (flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and ground allspice to the batter. Stir to mix ingredients only until flour is incorporated and moistened. Do not over stir.

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Each one should only be filled HALF full.

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Bake muffins at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Check muffins at 18 minutes. Mine only took 18 minutes, so I was glad I checked them. This is necessary because oven temps. vary quite a bit!  Once done, immediately remove the muffins from the baking pan, and place them on a wire rack to cool.  Once cooled, they are ready to eat… as is, OR you can fancy them up (can’t help myself!).

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

If you want to “fancy them up” a bit, while muffins are cooling off stir together a mixture of powdered sugar, vanilla, and water until the icing is thick enough to drizzle over tops of muffins. I had some red sparkly sugar in my pantry, so I also lightly sprinkled the icing with red sugar after drizzling it on. (Multi-colored sprinkles would add a fun touch, too!).

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Let the icing firm up just a bit, then the muffins are ready to eat!  Here’s a peek at the inside of one before it got gobbled up!  My husband enjoyed his warm muffins with a tiny touch of butter, which he said made them perfect!

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

It’s such an easy recipe to make… and it was kind of fun to have GINGERBREAD muffins for breakfast, right in the middle of the Christmas holidays!  Hope you enjoy them.  I sincerely hope you are finding JOY in this season. Merry Christmas!

Gingerbread Muffins / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Adapted From:Recipe Adapted From: The cookbook titled : “Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook”, Page 158, Wiley Publishing, Inc., Copyright 2010, General Mills.

Gingerbread Muffins
 
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Gingerbread Muffins... delicious, EASY, and perfect for the holidays!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 12
Ingredients
For Muffin Batter:
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (packed)
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
For Decorative Icing (to drizzle on finished muffins):
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Few drops of water (a little at a time until desired thickness is reached)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. spray the bottoms (only) of a 12 standard sized muffin cups with non-stick spray OR insert paper muffin baking cups into each cup.
  2. Mix the the brown sugar, molasses, oil, milk, and egg together in a large bowl with a spoon. Mix well.
  3. Stir in the remaining ingredients (flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice). Stir only until all ingredients are mixed in together... do not overmix.
  4. Divide and spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups (only fill HALFWAY).
  5. Bake muffins at 400 degrees F for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of muffin comes out clean. It's best to check them at the 18 minute mark, as oven temperatures vary.
  6. When done, immediately remove muffins from baking pan to a wire rack to cool. Once they have cooled down they are ready to serve warm (unless you wish to add a decorative drizzle).
  7. If you wish to drizzle icing over the top of finished muffins, place powdered sugar and vanilla in small bowl. Stir in a few drops of water, stirring as you go. Continue adding a drop or two of water and stirring, until icing is thick enough to drizzle on top of muffins. Wait until muffins are completely cool before drizzling icing on top. Lightly dust with colored sugar or sprinkles, if desired. Let icing firm up on muffins, then serve! Enjoy!

 

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Tex-Mex Party Nuts

If you are looking for a delicious appetizer for your next party (or just want a unique snack), you should give these Tex-Mex Party Nuts a try! Slightly sweet, slightly spicy and totally addicting, they will be a big hit… AND they are totally EASY to prepare!Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I found the recipe in a cookbook a friend of mine gave me several years ago for Christmas, and was anxious to try it. I waited until my husband bought an “industrial strength size” jar of mixed nuts at Costco, then smuggled enough out of the jar to make this recipe. Wow… am I glad I did! These roasted mixed nuts are amazing, and the best part is… they are easy to make with a few simple household spices, and only take a few minutes to make! Here’s how:

Measure the mixed nuts into a large bowl. Add melted butter, and stir until the nuts are coated.

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

In a separate small bowl, mix together the spices EXCEPT for the granulated sugar (save that for later!). Sprinkle the spice mix over the mixed nuts, and stir to fully coat.

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Spread the spiced nuts onto a 15 x10 x 1 inch baking pan. Spread them out in a single layer. Bake the nuts, uncovered, in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes. When done, immediately pour the hot spiced nuts into a medium bowl.

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Sprinkle the nuts with granulated sugar while they are still HOT from the oven. Stir to fully coat.

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Let the nuts cool completely, then serve on a pretty plate or in a serving bowl.

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

The Tex-Mex Party Nuts also make a lovely gift during the holidays. Simply place the nuts into a canning jar, then decorate, and enjoy giving them as a gift to a friend!

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

The first time I made them I was afraid (before trying them) that they might be TOO spicy, but was pleasantly surprised to find out they absolutely were NOT!  Perfect combo of slightly sweet/slightly spicy ingredients! The nuts will keep for up to 3 weeks, if you store them in an airtight covered container at room temperature.  The recipe is EASILY doubled… or tripled.  Sure hope you will give them a try… they are quite tasty!

Tex-Mex Party Nuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Adapted From: The cookbook titled : “Betty Crocker Christmas Cookbook”, Page 272, Wiley Publishing, Inc., Copyright 2010, General Mills.

Tex-Mex Party Nuts
 
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These Southwest-inspired slightly sweet, slightly spicy mixed nuts will be a big hit at your next party!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups salted mixed nuts
  • 1½ Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground red cayenne pepper
  • --------------------------------------------------------
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar (set aside)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. Place mixed nuts in a medium sized bowl. Add melted butter and stir until the nuts are fully coated.
  3. In a small bowl, place all spices EXCEPT for the granulated sugar. Mix together. Sprinkle spice mix over the buttered mixed nuts, and stir until coated.
  4. Place nuts onto a 10 x15 x 1 inch baking pan in a single layer. Bake the nuts uncovered for 10 minutes. The nuts should be fully roasted. Remove nuts from oven and immediately place them into a bowl.
  5. Sprinkle the nuts with the granulated sugar while the nuts are still HOT. Stir to coat.
  6. Let the nuts cool completely, then serve.
  7. If storing, the nuts will keep for about 3 weeks in a covered airtight container at room temperature.

 

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Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo

Lightly seasoned, pan-seared shrimp served on a bed of penne pasta covered in a creamy Alfredo sauce is a delicious meal we really enjoy! Guess what? Shrimp and Penne Pasta Alfredo is not only delicious to eat, it’s EASY to prepare in UNDER 30 minutes!!Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Over 30 years ago a friend told me how to make a quick alfredo sauce; the rest of the recipe is just one of the variations I have made through the years.  The shrimp in this dish, (lightly sprinkled with Cajun spices or seasoning of your choice) AND the sauce takes only minutes to prepare while the pasta is cooking, so the entire dish can be ready to go in under 30 minutes! And trust me… it is EASY to prepare… and quite yummy.

Here’s how simple it is to make:

Bring large pot of water to boil… cook penne pasta according to package directions.

While pasta is cooking, lightly sprinkle Cajun seasoning (or seasoning of your choice: garlic powder, Italian seasoning, etc.) onto peeled, deveined large shrimp (21-25 per pound). In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat.  When oil is hot, add shrimp and cook about 2 minutes per side, until pink and fully cooked. Remove, and keep warm.

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

To make the Alfredo sauce, melt 1 cube of butter in a large skillet. I make the sauce while the pasta is cooking.

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add 1½ cups heavy whipping cream, stir, then grate 1½ cups of fresh Parmesan cheese into sauce (can also add more Parmesan, if desired).  Stir well to combine ingredients and cook on medium-low heat (stirring constantly) until cheese has melted, sauce has thickened, and is hot. Taste test sauce; season with a tiny bit of garlic powder, salt and pepper, if desired. Do not let sauce come to a boil.

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When pasta is finished cooking, drain well, then add to skillet with thickened hot Alfredo sauce.

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Stir to fully mix pasta and sauce. Heat on low until sauce and pasta are hot and fully combined.

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Place a portion of the hot pasta onto each serving plate. Top each portion with pan-seared shrimp.  Sprinkle with dried parsley and additional grated Parmesan cheese (if desired), and serve hot.

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

See how easy it is? I’ve been making Alfredo sauce this way for years and years… and it tastes GREAT with shrimp.

Hope you will consider making this great meal for yourself… and those you love!  Blessings~

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Shrimp And Penne Pasta Alfredo
 
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Lightly seasoned shrimp on a bed of Penne Pasta in a creamy alfredo sauce. Easy and delicious!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound shrimp (21-25 count per pound), shelled/deveined
  • Cajun seasoning (or seasoning of your choice: garlic powder, Italian seasoning, etc.)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cube butter
  • 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
  • Approximately 1½ cups grated Parmesan cheese (add more to taste, if desired)
  • Season lightly with garlic powder, salt & black pepper, to taste
  • ¾ pound penne pasta, cooked per package instructions
  • Dried parsley and/or additional grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (if desired)
Directions
  1. Prepare penne pasta according to package instructions. While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce and the shrimp.
To Make Alfredo Sauce:
  1. Melt butter in medium skillet. Once melted, pour in heavy whipping cream. Stir to combine. Cook on medium-low until heated through (but not boiling). Add grated Parmesan cheese to saucepan. Stir well, to combine. Continue cooking until cheese melts, and mixture thickens (but is NOT boiling). Taste and add additional Parmesan cheese (you can't get too much!) for thicker sauce and additional flavor. Season very lightly with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Keep sauce warm while you prepare the shrimp (or can cook both at the same time if multi-tasking).
To cook shrimp:
  1. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in large skillet.
  2. Lightly sprinkle shelled/deveined shrimp with Cajun seasoning. Stir to combine. When oil in skillet is hot, add shrimp. Cook shrimp for about 2 minutes per side, until pink and cooked through. Set aside and keep warm.
To Serve:
  1. When pasta is done, drain. Add drained penne to skillet with hot Alfredo sauce , and mix well to fully coat pasta with sauce. Place a serving of hot pasta on individual plates. Top with 4-5 cooked shrimp.
  2. Garnish with dried parsley and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve and enjoy!
Notes
Fresh grated Parmesan is the best choice, but if all you have available is the "Green Container" shaker can of Parmesan cheese, by all means use it!

 

 

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Gingerbread Bundt Cakes With Cinnamon Icing

A few years ago I enjoyed making this recipe for miniature Gingerbread Cakes With Cinnamon Icing to give to our neighbors and friends. Using miniature bundt pans (preferably a 12 cup pan), I was able to make two dozen of these delicious food gifts to give away!Gingerbread Bundt Cakes With Cinnamon Icing / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
The recipe is simple to prepare, and as written, makes approximately 24 cute, mini bundt cakes.  Each individual sized gingerbread-flavored cake was covered with a delicious creamy Cinnamon icing (or glaze), drizzled with chocolate (to “fancy” them up), then garnished with a whole pecan and a mint sprig from my garden. When I made these, I doubled the amount of cinnamon icing, kept it fairly thick and covered more of the top of each cake.

Gingerbread Bundt Cakes With Cinnamon Icing / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I decided to leave the cinnamon icing off of several of the finished cakes, and chose, instead,  to cover the tops with whipped cream and a light dusting of cinnamon. They were delicious served this way, as well.

Gingerbread Bundt Cakes With Cinnamon Icing / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

It was fun to wrap up each individual cake (the ones with the cinnamon icing) and decorate them with pretty Fall leaves and ribbon. They were a nice gift to be able to share (from my kitchen) with our friends and neighbors.  The cake itself tastes wonderful… packed with gingerbread flavor!  Sure hope you will consider making these little edible gifts for those you love!  They would be perfect for the holidays!

Gingerbread Bundt Cakes With Cinnamon Icing / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Adapted From:  http://thesepeasarehollow.blogspot.com/2010/10/gingerbread-bundts.html

Gingerbread Bundt Cakes With Cinnamon Icing
 
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Miniature gingerbread bundt cakes with cinnamon icing is a perfect gift to give to friends and family during the holidays!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 24 mini cakes
Ingredients
For Gingerbread Cakes:
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ salt
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 cube unsalted butter (melted, then brought to room temp.)
  • ¾ cup dark molasses
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (large)
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup milk
For Cinnamon Glaze:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6-8 Tablespoons milk (depends on how thick or thin you want icing!)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • (OPTIONAL) Melted chocolate for drizzle, whole pecans and/or mint sprigs for garnish
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour the miniature bundt pan cups.
  2. Place flour, baking soda, salt, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, cocoa powder, cinnamon and ginger in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together until combined.
  3. Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer, combine molasses, granulated sugar and melted (but at room temperature) butter until blended well. Add the egg to this mixture, and continue beating until ingredients are completely combined.
  4. Slowly pour in the buttermilk, followed by the milk, beating slowly as you add, until ingredients are combined. Add the dry ingredients from the medium bowl (flour, spices, etc.) in small increments to the wet ingredients in mixing bowl, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape down the sides of bowl as you go. Stop mixing when ingredients have all been added and are just incorporated into batter.
  5. Pour or spoon batter into each prepared bundt pan cup, filling each to ¾ of the way full. Smooth the top of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees, with the pan on the middle rack of oven, for approx. 30 minutes, OR until a toothpick that is inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove pan to a wire rack. Let cakes cool for 15-20 minutes, then remove cakes from pan to wire rack.
  6. To prepare icing: Place the powdered sugar, cinnamon and milk in medium sized bowl. Mix well with a fork until smooth. Too thin? Add powdered sugar. Too thick? Add milk. Pour or spread icing over tops of each cooled cake. Let icing firm up before serving.
  7. If desired, drizzle melted chocolate over each cake. Garnish with a whole pecan or walnut, then add a sprig of mint for a festive garnish. Let chocolate firm up before serving or wrapping. Enjoy!

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  We really do have so much to be thankful for, if you think about it.  Enjoy this holiday; hopefully you will be able to carve out some quiet time of reflection, and give thanks for God’s many blessings, large or small in your life.Happy Thanksgiving / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

 

One of the quotes I LOVE is this “There is ALWAY something to be thankful for”.  My hope is that your day is filled with laughter, love, fantastic food, and the gift of family and friends. May your celebration be sweet!

From our home to yours… Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Happy Thanksgiving / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

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Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts

In spite of all the fancy gourmet doughnuts available at specialty shops nowadays, sometimes eating a simple Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnut, with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg (maybe even sprinkled with powdered sugar or cinnamon-sugar) hits the spot!Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
If and when we have doughnuts, it’s because my doughnut-crazy husband picks them up at a local doughnut shop. BUT… I wanted to try my hand at making this simple doughnut out of simple curiosity on the “how-to’s” of making them, so I located a recipe that sounded good on Pinterest and gave it a go… with very good results! These doughnuts do not contain yeast, so there is no time waiting for dough to rise, and they’re made with simple ingredients that are typically found in most kitchens. They were very easy to prepare… here’s how you make them:

Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium-sized bowl.

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Mix in melted butter and stir until dough is crumbly. Stir in milk and beaten egg. Turn out the dough (it is sticky) onto a lightly floured work surface. Flour your hands and knead dough lightly, adding a sprinkle or two of flour if dough remains sticky.

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Pat the dough out so that it is 1/4 inch thick. Dip a doughnut cutter or a biscuit cutter (I don’t have a doughnut cutter, so I used a biscuit cutter) into flour, then cut out doughnuts (dipping cutter into flour before cutting each one).  I used a very small cap from a bottle to cut out the center of the doughnuts. Gather scraps of leftover dough, and cut additional doughnuts out.

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Heat oil to 375 degrees (make sure oil is at correct temperature before adding doughnuts).  I used my electric skillet with a temperature gauge on it, but a meat or candy thermometer would also work!  Carefully add doughnuts, 3-4 at a time to hot oil. Cook for 3 minutes, turning them over at mid-point in the cooking time. I use two chopsticks (one in center of doughnut, one on outside) to carefully flip the doughnuts over.  Doughnuts should be golden brown on both sides.

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Place the cooked doughnuts onto several layers of paper towels to drain. Make sure oil comes back to temperature and continue cooking doughnuts until all have been prepared.

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once doughnuts have cooled off, they are ready to serve, as is (plain and simple).  If you want you can sprinkle some or all of the doughnuts with sifted powdered sugar OR sprinkle with a cinnamon-sugar mixture. If using powdered sugar, make sure doughnuts are totally cooled off before using. If using cinnamon-sugar mixture, sprinkle it on while doughnuts are still hot.

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

However you enjoy eating cake doughnuts, I hope you consider making these. It’s nice to know that occasionally you can make your own, instead of having to go to a shop to buy them.

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Have a blessed week, as you gather with family and.or friends, to give thanks to God for our many blessings, big or small. There is ALWAYS something to be grateful for!

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source:  http://baking.about.com/od/doughnutsanddonuts/r/plaincake.htm

Old-Fashioned Cake Doughnuts
 
Prep time
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You'll be surprised at how easy it is to prepare old-fashioned cake doughnuts, with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg.
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 6-12 doughnuts
Ingredients
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • approx. 1 quart oil, for frying
  • Optional: powdered sugar or cinnamon-sugar mixture for cooked doughnuts
Directions
  1. Sift flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Mix in melted butter-stir until dough is crumbly. Stir in milk and beaten egg. Turn out dough (it is sticky) onto a lightly floured work surface. Flour your hands and knead dough lightly, (adding a sprinkle or two of flour if dough remains sticky) until it comes together in a ball.
  3. Pat the dough out until it is ¼ inch thick. Dip a doughnut cutter or a biscuit cutter into flour, then cut out doughnuts (dipping cutter into flour before cutting each one). Cut out center of the doughnuts if using biscuit cutter. Gather scraps of leftover dough, and cut additional doughnuts.
  4. Heat oil to 375 degrees (make sure oil is at correct temperature before adding dough). I used an electric skillet with temperature gauge, but a meat or candy thermometer would work! Carefully add doughnuts, 3-4 at a time to hot oil. Cook for 3 minutes, turning them over at mid-point in the cooking time. I use two chopsticks (one in center of doughnut, one on outside) to carefully flip the doughnuts over. Doughnuts should be golden brown on both sides. Place cooked doughnuts onto several layers of paper towels to drain. Bring oil back to temperature and continue cooking doughnuts and doughnut holes until all have been prepared.
  5. Once doughnuts have cooled, they are ready to serve. If desired, sprinkle doughnuts with sifted powdered sugar OR with a cinnamon-sugar mixture. If using powdered sugar, make sure doughnuts are totally cooled off before sprinkling. If using cinnamon-sugar mixture, sprinkle it on while doughnuts are still hot.
Notes
The quantity of doughnuts made will vary, depending on the size of the doughnut or biscuit cutter used.

 

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Chicken Divan

Over 39 years ago, just before getting married, a friend gave me this recipe for Chicken Divan, and at this point in my life it would be incredibly difficult to count how many times I have made this fantastic casserole recipe over the years. It has been a family favorite!Chicken Divan / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
According to Wikipedia, Chicken Divan was named after the Divan Parisienne Restaurant in New York City where it was created for a contest their Chef entered. His recipe for a chicken casserole, with broccoli, in a creamy Mornay sauce won the contest and became the restaurant’s signature dish!

I was given the recipe by my friend Elnora when I was getting married so MANY years ago. I worked for Elnora’s husband in the Music Department at the church I attended, and that is how we met.  I am so grateful she gifted me with her recipe, because we truly LOVE this dish.  The recipe makes a phenomenal tasting casserole that serves 8-10 people, and is VERY easy to prepare!

Here’s how you make this: (by the way… when I took these photos I only made HALF the recipe, which is reflected in the photos).

Before assembling the casserole, cook boneless chicken breasts in boiling water (can add onion, celery, and carrots to water for additional flavoring if desired) until done. Remove and let cool. Once chicken is cool, cut it into bite-size pieces, and set aside.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan with non-stick spray. Arrange thawed broccoli across bottom of baking pan. Sprinkle generously with grated Parmesan cheese.

Chicken Divan / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Arrange the chicken cubes on top of the broccoli.  Sprinkle again with Parmesan cheese.

Chicken Divan / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

In a medium bowl, combine cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, mayonnaise, grated Cheddar cheese, lemon juice, curry powder, and salt and pepper. Mix until fully combined. The sauce will be fairly thick.

Chicken Divan / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Spoon or pour the sauce evenly over the top of the casserole, spreading it out, to cover.  Generously sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, then lightly sprinkle with paprika.

Chicken Divan / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Place several small pads of butter on the top of the casserole. Bake casserole, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, until golden in color, and the cheese sauce is bubbly around edges of pan.

Chicken Divan / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When casserole is done, remove to a hot pad, and let it sit for 5-6 minutes. This will allow the casserole time to firm up a bit (the sauce is VERY hot!).

Chicken Divan / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When ready, serve hot over fluffy rice, and ENJOY this delicious chicken casserole (you’ve got chicken, rice AND broccoli). The leftovers are wonderful, as well.

Chicken Divan / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

The chunks of chicken breast taste magnificent with the sauce and broccoli. The bed of rice that it lays on provides a great medium to soak up some of the delicious sauce! It’s SOOOO delicious!

Chicken Divan / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

While I know this is not the most “health-conscious” or calorie-conscious meal, I gotta tell ya… sometimes ya just gotta go for it and enjoy a wonderful meal! Everything in moderation, right? Sure hope you will try this recipe… it’s a definite KEEPER!

Chicken Divan / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Recipe Source: Elnora Hall

Chicken Divan
 
Prep time
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Easy to prepare, delicious casserole, featuring chicken breast chunks and broccoli, baked in a creamy cheese sauce, and served on a bed of fluffy rice.
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Entree - Casserole
Serves: 8-10 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 small packages frozen broccoli spears
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese (fresh grated OR can use "green shaker can")
  • Paprika (to sprinkle on top of casserole prior to baking)
  • Butter (enough for small pads of butter on top of casserole)
  • Rice, prepared according to instructions on package
Directions
  1. Cook chicken breasts in water (enough to cover); bring to a low boil, cook until chicken is done (about 25-30 mins.). See *NOTES. When done, remove chicken from water. Let cool, then cut into bite-sized cubes.
  2. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray. Place thawed broccoli evenly on bottom of baking pan. Sprinkle generously with Parmesan cheese. Evenly arrange the chicken pieces over the broccoli. Sprinkle again with Parmesan cheese.
  3. In a medium bowl, fully combine (with a spoon) cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, mayonnaise, grated cheddar cheese, lemon juice, curry powder, and salt and pepper (to taste). Pour or spoon sauce evenly over top of casserole. Spread out, to cover entire casserole. Generously sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, then lightly sprinkle with paprika. Dot the top of casserole with small pads of butter.
  4. Bake casserole, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until casserole is bubbling all around the edges and is golden brown in color. Remove casserole. Let it sit for 5-6 minutes to allow time to firm up just a bit.
  5. Serve casserole hot over a bed of fluffy rice... and ENJOY!
Notes
Original recipe says to cook chicken with onion, celery & carrots for flavor. I have never done this, but include it in case you wish to do so. The original recipe also said to cook the frozen broccoli, but I find that if I thaw it out completely, then pat it dry, there is no need to cook it.

 

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Lime, Cranberry & Raspberry Refresher

Looking for a great tasting, bubbly beverage everyone can enjoy during the upcoming holidays?  How about a Lime, Cranberry & Raspberry Refresher? This non-alcoholic beverage also contains apple juice… the recipe comes from one of my Cooking Light cookbooks… and I think you will really enjoy it!Lime, Cranberry & Raspberry Refresher / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
The recipe is absolutely simple to prepare (ready in 3 minutes!), and makes eight 1 cup servings.  I found the recipe in a cookbook I own called “Cooking Light – Fresh Food Superfast”, changed the recipe up just a bit, and REALLY enjoyed it!  The cookbook got it right – a pitcher of this certainly IS superfast to prepare!

If you want to make a festive beverage that everyone can enjoy (including the kids), consider making this refreshing drink during the holidays.  You can add fresh or frozen raspberries and/or frozen cranberries to each drink, and garnish each glass with a lime wedge to make it even more festive looking! Sure hope you enjoy this colorful, bubbly and flavorful drink! We sure did.

Lime, Cranberry & Raspberry Refresher / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Adapted from: The cookbook called “Cooking Light – Fresh Food Superfast”, page 150, published 2011, Time Home Entertainment, Inc.

Lime, Cranberry & Raspberry Refresher
 
Prep time
Total time
 
As Prepared By:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups cranberry-raspberry juice
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2 cups lime flavored sparkling water
  • Ice cubes (optional, but recommended)
  • Fresh raspberries or frozen cranberries (optional)
  • Thin lime wedges (as garnish for glass-optional)
Directions
  1. Pour the cranberry-raspberry juice and apple juice into a large pitcher. Stir in 2 cups sparkling LIME water, until combined.
  2. Serve spritzer over ice cubes.
  3. Add frozen cranberries OR fresh or frozen raspberries to each glass (for decoration).
  4. Garnish glass with a thin lime wedge, if desired.
  5. Serve, and enjoy!
Notes
If you wish to make this up ahead of serving time, mix cranberry/raspberry juice and apple juice in pitcher. Cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, add cold lime sparkling water to pitcher. Serve over ice, and other garnishes.

 

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Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish

If you enjoy a good pastry AND enjoy chocolate, I’m pretty sure you will love this recipe for a Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish that I found online recently. Added bonus? It’s EASY to make!Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
This pastry is easy to prepare because it starts with a can of store-bought crescent rolls, and only takes about 30 minutes total to prepare!

Here’s how you make this delicious pastry treat… Before beginning, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. (See? I told you this would be EASY!).  Mix together room temperature cream cheese, sugar, flour and vanilla extract in a small bowl. I used an electric mixer to do this and it was mixed in a flash! When creamy and thoroughly combined, set aside.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Open the can of crescent dough; without separating the triangles, unroll the dough and place it onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Using your fingers, press the dough together to close all the holes (perforations) up, so you have one complete piece of dough.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once you have pressed all the holes in the dough together, drop the cream cheese filling (by the spoonfuls) in the center, down the length of the dough. Make sure you evenly spread the filling out, making sure the filling is between 2-3 inches wide.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Evenly sprinkle the chopped chocolate on top of the cream cheese filling.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Starting at one end, cut 1 inch strips (at a slight angle toward the top) into both sides of the dough. Cut in until it reaches the filling. Pull the strips up and over the filling making sure to alternate sides (L,R,L,R, etc) until entire roll has been “braided. Tuck in any extra bits of dough that you may end up with on each end of the roll.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Whisk an egg YOLK in a small bowl, then brush the surface of the pastry roll with the beaten yolk.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Bake the pastry at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown in color. Remove from oven and let the pastry cool COMPLETELY on a wire rack (leave the parchment paper underneath).

Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

While the pastry is cooling, mix together a simple glaze of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl, until smooth. Once the pastry has cooled completely, decoratively drizzle the glaze back and forth across the pastry until all the glaze is gone. The parchment paper will help to collect any run-off glaze, and will help to make it an easy cleanup.  Let the pastry sit while the glaze firms up.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When ready to serve, cut the pastry into slices… grab a cup of coffee or tea… and dig in!

Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

This breakfast pastry is decadently rich, creamy, and chocolatey, so it obviously is not something you want to eat every day, but for an occasional treat… it really is delicious!  A small piece goes a long way!  Sure hope you enjoy this treat. I know I sure did.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Recipe Source:  http://www.laurenslatest.com/chocolate-cream-cheese-danish/

Chocolate Cream Cheese Danish
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Delicious pastry, made with store bought crescent rolls, and filled with sweetened cream cheese and chopped chocolate.
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
For Pastry:
  • 1 can crescent rolls
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (at room temp)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten (for brushing onto rolled pastry before baking)
For Glaze:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Before beginning, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cream together softened cream cheese, granulated sugar, flour and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
  3. Unroll the crescent dough without separating any of the triangles. Keep the dough all in one piece! Place dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, then press together all the perforations in the dough with your fingers.
  4. Spoon the cream cheese filling down the center of the dough lengthwise. Spread the dough out so it is 2-3 inches wide in center of roll.
  5. Evenly sprinkle chopped chocolate on top of the cream cheese filling.
  6. Cut 1 inch strips of dough evenly on each side of the filling (at a slight angle toward the top).
  7. Starting at top, lift pieces of dough and pull up and over filling, alternating sides as you go, so that you end up with a somewhat "braided" pastry. (Left side strip, Right side strip, etc.). Tuck any leftover pieces of dough into the ends.
  8. Beat an egg yolk in a small dish. Using a pastry brush, gently "paint" the yolk over the surface of the pastry until covered. Place pastry in a preheated 375 degree oven; bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown in color. Remove pastry (keeping the parchment paper underneath) to a wire rack. Let cool completely.
  9. Mix together glaze ingredients until smooth. Once pastry is completely cool, decoratively drizzle glaze over surface of pastry. Let glaze firm up, then cut into slices, serve and enjoy!

 

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Honey BBQ Chicken Strips

My husband and I really enjoyed a new (to us) recipe for Honey BBQ Chicken Strips that I made recently. Sweet and slightly sticky from a Honey/BBQ sauce, these nicely seasoned, browned, then baked chicken strips were fantastic!Honey BBQ Chicken Strips / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Best part? They were full of flavor… and didn’t take too much time to make! (NOTE: I only made a HALF recipe since only two of us were eating, so that is reflected in my photos)  Here’s how you make them:

Season chicken strips with salt and pepper. Place in a medium sized bowl, cover with 2 cups of buttermilk, and stir to fully coat chicken pieces. Cover bowl, and refrigerate/marinate chicken for at least 2 hours. When chicken is nearly done marinating, preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep the remaining ingredients.

Honey BBQ Chicken Strips / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

In one bowl, mix together 2 cups buttermilk and hot sauce. Set aside.
In second bowl, stir together flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Set aside.
In third bowl, mix together BBQ sauce, honey and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.

Honey BBQ Chicken Strips / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When chicken is done marinating, remove strips from buttermilk and let excess drip off. Dip and fully cover the chicken strips (one at a time) in 1) FLOUR MIXTURE (shake off excess), then 2) BUTTERMILK MIXTURE (letting excess drip off), then 3) back in to the FLOUR MIXTURE. Set all the coated pieces on a large plate or platter until all pieces are finished being coated. It’s a tad messy, but keep going… it will be worth it!

Honey BBQ Chicken Strips / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Honey BBQ Chicken Strips / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Heat vegetable oil in large skillet. Heat oil to 350-360 degrees (use a thermometer if you have one). Once the oil is at the correct temperature and is really hot, gently place the chicken strips in the oil. Fry until golden brown; flip over and cook other side. Once both sides are golden brown, remove to wire rack or paper towels (chicken will be baked after this step, so strips don’t have to be fully cooked through).

Honey BBQ Chicken Strips / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Using a pastry brush, cover the chicken strips with the BBQ/Honey mixture on both sides.  Place the coated strips onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until fully cooked.

Honey BBQ Chicken Strips / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When done, remove from oven, sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or dried parsley for a garnish (optional). Serve and enjoy!

Honey BBQ Chicken Strips / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I served the chicken strips with a small salad and rice on the side, but these would be a great “snack/appetizer” treat for munching on while watching football or a great game on TV with a friends or family! These delicious chicken strips have great flavor, and the sticky Honey BBQ sauce makes them “finger-licking delicious”!

Honey BBQ Chicken Strips / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I sure hope you will consider making these delicious chicken strips. I am thankful to have found the recipe from Trish, at “Mom On Time Out”. It’s a “keeper”.  Have a blessed day!

Honey BBQ Chicken Strips / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source: http://www.momontimeout.com/2015/08/honey-bbq-chicken-strips-recipe/

Honey BBQ Chicken Strips
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Chicken strips are marinated in buttermilk, seasoned, browned, then baked to tasty perfection in a sweet, slightly sticky Honey/BBQ sauce.
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 6-8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders or boneless chicken breasts, cut into long strips)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable oil (for frying... at least 1 inch deep)
  • 4 cups buttermilk (divided)
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Sesame seeds/parsley (Optional, for garnish)
Directions
  1. Season chicken strips with salt and pepper. Place in a medium sized bowl, cover with 2 cups of buttermilk, and stir to fully coat chicken pieces. Cover bowl, and refrigerate/marinate chicken for at least 2 hours. When chicken is nearly done marinating, preheat oven to 350 degrees and prep the remaining ingredients.
  2. In medium bowl, mix together 2 cups buttermilk and hot sauce. Set aside.
  3. In small bowl, stir together flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika. Set aside.
  4. In shallow bowl, mix together BBQ sauce, honey and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
  5. When chicken is done marinating, remove strips from buttermilk and let excess drip off. Place chicken strips (coating one at a time) in FLOUR MIXTURE, then BUTTERMILK MIXTURE, then put back in FLOUR MIXTURE to coat. I set all the coated pieces on a large platter until all were coated.
  6. Heat vegetable oil in large skillet. Heat oil to 350-360 degrees (use a thermometer if you have one). Once the oil is at the correct temperature and is really hot, gently place the chicken strips in the oil. Fry until golden brown; flip over and cook other side. Once both sides are golden brown, remove to wire rack or paper towels (chicken will be baked, so strips don't have to be fully cooked through).
  7. Using a pastry brush, cover the chicken strips with the BBQ/Honey mixture on both sides. Place the coated strips onto parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until fully cooked. When done, remove from oven, sprinkle with sesame seeds and/or dried parsley for a garnish (optional). Serve and enjoy!

 

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